Saturday, January 12, 2008

Surf's Up: Free Video of Eddie Aikau Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational On Watch Status In Waimea Bay

Your weekend bonus: coverage of the fabled Eddie Aikau Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational meet at Waimea Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. Due to the stringent "big wave" requirements, this event has only been held seven times in 21 years.

The waves must be at least 20 feet, which translates to an actual working "wave face heights" of more than 30 feet. Earlier this week, the waves didn't meet the standard.

This weekend's watch has been cancelled for Sunday, Jan. 13 due to storm and high wind conditions.

The meet is limited to 20 of the world's top surfers. Big Wave is also traditional because it requires paddle-in competition. No towing by powered vehicles is allowed.

Lean back, relax, and enjoy the emotional start of a recent Big Wave invitational, and some incredible surfing video.

Fittingly, the first winner was Eddie Aikau's younger brother, Clyde. The mana ws there, Clyde said, as he told of Eddie"s spirit rising to meet him in the lineup in the form of a large turtle, surfacing just before the winning rides.

The first lifeguard at Waimea Bay, Eddie lost his life trying to save others. He was selected to crew the Polynesian Voyaging Society 's second sailing of the Hokule'a on a 30-day, 2500 mile journey following the ancient route of the Polynesian migration between the Hawaiian and Tahitian islands.

About twelves miles out from the island of Molokai, the Hokule'a developed a leak in one of its hulls and capsized. Paddling on his surfboard, In an attempt to get to land to save his crew and the Hokule'a, Eddie paddled toward Lanai on his surfboard.

Ironically, Eddie was the only crew member to perish. A commercial airplane spotted the Hokule'a and the rest of the crew was soon rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. Eddie was missing at sea. Despite great search efforts Eddie was never seen again.

The invitational meet honoring Eddie Aikau's life and spirit is dependent not on man's calendars, but on nature. "The Bay Will Call the Day" surfers and organizers say.

Champions of this event include 7-time world champ Kelly Slater (Florida), Bruce Irons (Kauai, HI), Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia), and Aikau's younger brother Clyde Hawaii). No one has ever won the event twice. Quiksilver is a company originally founded in Australia.

Aikau is also honored through the Eddie Aikau Foundation. The foundation's goals include: "advancing education and community service; supporting ocean-related activities and events; assisting in the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian history and culture; and encouraging Hawaiians and visitors alike to respect and contribute to the growth and development of Hawaiian culture. The Foundation strives to inspire people to develop a strong sense of pride in themselves, their heritage and their community through Eddie's remarkable spirit and character "

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